What are marijuana withdrawal symptoms?

Marijuana withdrawal smyptoms include irritability, anxiety, and restlessness as well as decreased appetite, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems. More on what to expect during marijuana withdrawal here.

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Marijuana (active ingredient THC) is one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs in the country.  While most people do not believe in the addictive properties of marijuana, THC can be psychologically addictive.  And not surprisingly, many people develop physical dependence on marijuana every year. Learn more about marijuana withdrawal and how to beat it here. Then, share your questions about marijuana withdrawal and its symptoms at the end.

Why do marijuana withdrawal symptoms occur?

Minds and bodies without drugs are in a delicate balance known as homeostasis, and they don’t like to deviate from this balance. Once a person uses a drug like marijuana regularly, however, they can become physically dependent on it. In addition to building a tolerance to THC, some people even need it in their system in order to function normally.

Because of the psychoactive effects of marijuana on the central nervous system, the body must alter its functions slightly when you stop smoking. In effect, you have to create a new homeostasis when you’ve become dependent on THC after daily use. When a person who is physically dependent on marijuana stops using it, the body is still trying to function at this altered homeostasis, which results in withdrawal symptoms.

What are symptoms of marijuana withdrawal?

An intense craving for marijuana is one of the most common marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Irritability, anxiety, and restlessness may also occur during marijuana withdrawal, as can headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and a decrease in appetite. The severity of these withdrawal symptoms will usually depend on how long a person has been dependent on the drug as well as the severity of the dependency. Some people may not even have any marijuana withdrawal symptoms when they quit using it.

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms: How long do they last?

Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can begin in as little as a day after last use, but some individuals may not experience them until up to three days after last use. Once they begin, they can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Marijuana withdrawal symptom treatment

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms, while not dangerous, can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. The hardest symptom to deal with is usually the intense cravings for the drug, which can lead to a relapse. Staying busy with activities that do not involve marijuana use can help keep your mind off of using the drug. This can include activities such as going to a movie, working out in the gym, or hanging out with friends or family members that don’t use marijuana.

Other marijuana withdrawal symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Ibuprofen for headaches and stomach medicine, peppermint or ginger for nausea can be helpful. Relaxation exercises and some herbal teas can also help relieve the intense anxiety that some individuals may experience. Physicians, mental health professionals, and addiction specialists are also an excellent resource when dealing with marijuana withdrawal and addiction.

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms questions

Do you have any questions about marijuana withdrawal symptoms? Are you or a loved one going through marijuana withdrawal? Leave us a message below to get your questions answered or even just to share your own experience about the subject.

Reference Sources: Cannabis Factsheet – NSW Department of Health
NCBI: Pharmacological Treatment of Cannabis Dependence
NCBI: Diagnostic criteria for cannabis withdrawal syndrome
SAMHSA: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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